The international spread of the terrorist group ISIS is growing at an alarming rate despite their losses in the Middle East.
Santos Colon Jr., a 17-year-old from New Jersey, has pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to terrorists for his role in the plot to assassinate Pope Francis. He was charged as an adult and will face fines up $250,000 and up to 15 years behind bars, via ABC News.
The young terrorist planned the plot between June and August 2015 to coincide with the pope’s visit to Philadelphia in September that same year. The assassination was designed to occur while the pope was delivering mass and involved the use of a sniper and the detonation of nearby explosives.
The FBI arrested Colon while he was traveling into Philadelphia to attend the mass.
The would-be pope killer met with a man he believed to be a sniper-for-hire. The sniper was actually an undercover FBI agent. Colon detailed the plot to the supposed sniper and asked him to purchase the materials required to produce explosives.
Prosecutors refused to comment on the motivation behind the plot or why the pope was targeted. However, Colon was charged with supporting a terrorist organization, and the assassination attempt was described as ISIS inspired.
Additionally, the young terrorist referred to himself as “Ahmad Shakoor” while communicating with others in the planning phases of the attack, via Heavy.
Prosecutors may be unable or unwilling to comment on the motivations, but it is clear to anyone paying attention that this plot is another in the long series of radical Islamic terrorist attacks.
Prosecutors considered charging the terrorist for specifically aiding the terrorist group ISIS, but these charges were dropped as part of a plea deal to secure an admission of guilt. Colon told the court he does not consider himself to be mentally ill.
This young American man somehow became radicalized to the point of being willing to die for a foreign cause. It is unclear whether he was radicalized through the internet or if he was in contact with any American-based mosques.
Luckily, the FBI was able to catch wind of this attack and prevent it before anyone got hurt.
However, we must remain vigilant in preventing any future attacks. Radical Islamic terrorism is the largest threat facing our way of life, and we need to root out anyone preaching hate in addition to stopping their indoctrinated attackers.
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